Friday, November 18, 2005

Semester 3 started!!

Semester 3 at USQ has officially started!!

I am doing three units (or courses, as the Aussies call them!).

1. Home and Society.

2. Play Based Pedagogies.

3. Special Needs Education in Malaysian.

For Play Based Pedagogies, it talks about the play curriculum set in Australia, where students have to watch a video (which is converted to cd format at this point of time!) which features a kindergarten that adopts the play based approach to learning and observe, reflect and make meaning out of it.

What is so good about a play based approach? Well, I will know more after doing this course. At this point of time, it is still something that is still new to me, although I have done the initial "Learning through Play" unit as well as a unit on Play during my Montessori course.

When we talk about learning through play, it does not mean that the child is left to play by themselves and can do anything they want. It means to say that the teacher has to be watching what the children and doing, and writes is down, and at appropriate times, come in during the play time to interact with the children to see what they are doing. The children will explain to the teacher what they are doing, and she will write this all down.

At the end of the day, the children will come together in a group to discuss what they have done and the children do actually sit down (4, 5 and 6 year olds!) and listen to what their friends have to say. The student teachers who were watching the first episode in the video were pretty impressed by it!

In related to what the children have done, the children may do writing, or, drawings based on it,
or may do projects based on it as well. The teacher may have to look up on children's books based on that subject to leave in the book centers and introduce it to the children during reading time and let the children go through the book after that. This may lead to another topic altogether.

However, this is not done in one day, but over a period of many weeks and maybe months, just as how it is done in the Reggio Emmilia program. (I have to read up on that as well!). Of course, one has to remember that the curriculum that they have over there is different from the ones we have here. There is not such a set nor structured program as we have here, and the programs are designed to meet and scaffold needs of the individual child, which is not possible here.

Anyway, this is pretty superficial knowledge, based on what I have read in my previous readings so far.

For Special Needs, I will have to choose to do a write up on a Special Needs Association or a child, and it can be any special needs thing. Pretty open-ended assignments, so I need some time to think about what I want to write about.
I was thinking of doing something on the Deaf & Dumb Association, since I learnt some sign language at one point of time, and I find it pretty useful. (when I feel too lazy to talk!!! *lolz*)
Anyway, according to Dr. Irene, there's less research done on this aspect as well, so it could be something worth looking into.

If anyone wants to come with me to check out the Deaf & Dumb Association (if I do choose to go there,) send me an email or something!

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